The Crusaders Rural Renewal
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- Released: March 25, 2008
- Label: Pra Records
JazzTimes - 4/03, p.83"...Sample's formidable compositional abilities are still at the fore of the band....Because of his songwriting, the band is able to stretch out and improve like few in contemporary jazz..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 8/03, p.1044 out of 5 stars - "...While Sample's crystalline piano glistens and Felder's sax glides, the redoubtable Hopper holds everything together with tight, in-the-pocket grooves....Eric Clapton, in a couple of song-stealing cameos, supplies some tasty, blues-inflected solos..."
- 1.Rural Renewal
- 4.A Healing Coming On
- 5.Sing the Song
- 6.Shotgun House Groove
- 7.The Territory
- 8.Greasy Spoon
- 9.Viva de Funk
- 10.Lazy Sundays
- 11.Goin' Home
The Crusaders: Wilton Felder (tenor saxophone); Joe Sample (piano, Wurlitzer piano, Fender Rhodes piano, organ); Stix Hooper (drums).
Additional personnel: Donnie McClurkin, Sounds Of Blackness (vocals); Steve Baxter (trombone); Ray Parker, Jr., Eric Clapton, Arthur Adams (guitar); Freddie Washington (bass); Lenny Castro (percussion).
Recorded at Oceanway, Cello, Hollywood, California; Record One, Sherman Oaks, California and Master Mix Studios, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Includes liner notes by David Ritz.
RURAL RENEWAL was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.
The Crusaders: Dean Parks, Ray Parker Jr., Arthur Adams (guitar); Wilton Felder (tenor saxophone); Steve Baxter (trombone); Joe Sample (piano, Fender Rhodes piano, organ, Wurlitzer organ); Freddie "Ready Freddie" Washington (bass instrument); Stix Hooper (drums); Lenny Castro (percussion).
Personnel: Donnie McClurkin (vocals); Eric Clapton (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Sounds of Blackness (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Rik Pekkonen.
The title of this fine collection of smooth, funky jazz speaks volumes of the project contained within. The occasion for a reunion of all original band members, including long-time absentee drummer Stix Hooper, RURAL RENEWAL reconnects the Crusaders to their earthy, Texas-bred, blues-based roots. The band's previous, sometimes faltering attempts to blend hard bop with R&B are nowhere to be found: the fare here is flawless groove, with thick Fender Rhodes tones, lockstep guitar lines, punchy horn charts, and in-the-pocket bass and drum interaction, sweetened by solos all around.
The sweetness is deepened by a roster of special guests that includes Eric Clapton (whose acoustic leads on the title track opener get things off to a slinky, soulful start), Ray Parker, Jr., and vocal group Sounds of Blackness (see the gospel-charged "A Healing Coming On"). Titles like "Greasy Spoon," "Viva de Funk," and "Shotgun House Groove" should tip the listener off that deep bluesy jams are on order here, and the rhythmic rapport of musicians who have played together for the better part of a half-century delivers that order in style. The music sounds no less fresh for its time-tested, down-home familiarity. A renewal indeed.
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